P-O wrestling letterwinners

The Philipsburg-Osceola wrestling team returns nine letterwinners for the 2021-22 season. Front row, from left, are Marcus Gable and Ben Gustkey. Standing are Scott Frantz, Luke Hughes, Jimmy Richtscheit, Dom Shaw and Nick Coudriet. Missing from the photo are Austin Foster and Chase Klinger.

PHILIPSBURG — The Philpsburg-Osceola wrestling team is under the direction of a new head coach.

Justin Fye takes the reins from former head coach Brad Pataky, who stepped down following the 2020-21 season after five seasons at the helm.

Fye, who is the elementary principal in the district, is no stranger to coaching as he led Moshannon Valley to a 93-39 record in his six seasons at the head of the Black Knight program from 2011 to 2017. In his final season, Fye took Mo Valley to the finals of the District 6 class 2A Team Tournament and qualified for the PIAA Tournament. He was named District 6 class 2A Coach of the Year after the Knights finished third in the D-6 individual tournament.

Fye had to step down at Mo Valley when he took an administrative position at the high school, but has been itching to get back into coaching and couldn’t pass up the opportunity that arose at his alma mater.

“I talked to my wife (Sarah) about it, and luckily she referees a lot of basketball, so it kind of worked out well with that,” Fye said. “But she knew I missed it. Last year, I ran the camera and did a lot of our broadcasts here and that kind of had me missing it even more.”

So when Pataky stepped down, Fye jumped at the chance to join the coaching ranks once more.

“I talked to Dr. Paladina and interviewed with the school board and I felt there were good conversations at at that point they said they were going to allow me to take the job.

“So it worked out. I love the district here. I grew up here. To be able to coach where I wrestled for Coach (Dave) Caslow and Coach (Tim) McCamley is pretty exciting.”

Fye says the transition has been seamless thanks to a quality group of kids that came in ready to work.

“I didn’t get a chance to work with these kids when they were in elementary school or anything like that,” Fye said. “I knew some of their family members. Some of their parents knew me, but I didn’t really talk to the kids a lot. I just watched and video taped last year.

“But as soon as I accepted the position I actually came to the high school the next day and met with the guys and introduced myself. I just talked to them a little bit about building a good staff and being excited. I had heard they were a great group of kids, and they are. This is a great group of kids to work with. They are polite. coachable young men that are good student athletes. It’s made my transition a lot easier.”

It’s also helped that Fye has nine letterwinners, including seven seniors, to lean on.

Seniors Nick Coudriet, Austin Foster, Scott Frantz, Luke Hughes, Chase Klinger, Jimmy Richtscheit, and Dom Shaw, junior Ben Gustkey and sophomore Marcus Gable will be the core Fye and the Mounties build around.

“I feel like our senior leadership is going to carry us a long way this year,” Fye said. “With so many letterwinners back and most of them being seniors, they’ve done a great job of just leading the room. They’ve shown up to our open mats. They’re working hard at practice. We don’t have a lot of vocal leaders, but that’s fine. They lead by example. They work hard and everything we’ve asked them to do, they’re doing. I’m expecting big things from our seniors.”

Foster, a three time regional qualifier, is the Mounties most successful returner. He has 51 wins in his three seasons and is looking to build on last year’s super-regional appearance. He will likely start the season at 152.

“He is probably our vocal leader,” Fye said. “He technically qualified for states last year and I know he has some high goals for himself. He wants to be as high as possible on that podium. He’s in every day doing the extra work that he needs to do, and I think that experience of where he got to last year will fuel him this year.”

Gable was also a super-regional participant last season and leads a talented group of underclassmen. After wrestling at 120 as a freshman, Gable will bump up to 138 or 145 this season.

“He spent a lot of time in the weight room,” Fye said. “He’s in good shape and really excited. He just grinds at practice and works really hard. I expect him to be very successful. He’s very humble. He’s not going to tell you what his goals are, but I know he expects to be the best at his weight when he steps out on the mat. He’s a good leader for our underclassmen.”

Freshmen Sam McDonald and Hunter Kephart will contribute right away at 106 and 113, respectively.

“I expect them to be successful. They know the technique,” Fye said. “They both have a lot of experience and they are both very competitive. And there is no pressure on them because we have so many upperclassmen, so they can just come in and have fun and do what they know how to do.”

Frantz and Coudriet follow in the lineup at 120 and 126 and give P-O nice anchors in the lightweights.

Fellow seniors Hughes (160), Richtscheit (172), Shaw (189) and Klinger (285) should help solidify the lineup in the upper weights, while returner Gustkey looks to fill in a role in the lower middle weights.

“We’re a little bunched up between 126 and 145 right now, but as the year goes on and the allowances kick in, I feel like once we get our two pounds we are going to have the best lineup possible,” Fye said.

Sophomore Andrew Hensal looks to round out the lineup at 215.

Senior Caleb Quick, juniors Jake Bainey and Trevor Cort, sophomores Nate Fleck, Haydn Kephart and Ian Phillips and freshman Layne Russel are also in the room pushing for positions and providing depth to a balanced lineup.

“These kids are committed and want to do well. They are excited about the season,” Fye said.

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Fye has a large group of assistant coaches, including Mike Glace, Aaron Levonick, Matt Lobb, Tim McCamley, Chris Minarchick, Brandon Anderson, Tyler Anderson, Tyler Martin, Mike Horton, Tim Bainey Sr., Dan Bainey and Chris Thompson.

“I feel like I’ve built a good staff of technicians that can come in a run a practice. I have some staff that can take care of the computer side of things,” Fye said. “So that has allowed me to ease in and be relaxed.”

As for goals, Fye says the Mounties have plenty to work towards.

“The guys have some big goals,” he said. “They want to make it to district team duals and get to the Saturday at Tyrone (semifinals and finals). And individually, if we prepare them and they work hard, districts are going to take care of themselves.

“Our motto is ‘have fun, work hard and we’ll be great.’ We keep talking about that. We’re having fun, but when its time to work, they are working hard. Great things will happen because of them having good attitudes in the room and working hard.”

P-O opens its season Dec. 14 at Clearfield.

Roster

Seniors

*Nick Coudriet, *Austin Foster, *Scott Frantz, *Luke Hughes, *Chase Klinger, Caleb Quick, *Jimmy Richtscheit, *Dom Shaw.

Juniors

Jake Bainey, Trevor Cort, *Ben Gustkey.

Sophomores

Nate Fleck, *Marcus Gable, Andrew Hensal, Haydn Kephart, Ian Phillips.

Freshmen

Hunter Kephart, Sam McDonald, Layne Russel.

*Returning letterwinners

Schedule

December

14—at Clearfield. 17—at Panther Holiday Classic, 9 a.m. 18—at Panther Holiday Classic, 9 a.m. 21—at Bald Eagle Area. 23—Altoona, 5:30 p.m.

January

1—Tyrone. 8—Mountaineer Duals, 9 a.m. 11—Huntingdon. 15—at Husky Duals (Mifflin County), 10 a.m. 18—at Penns Valley. 20—DuBois. 25—Mount Union. 28—at Ultimate Warrior Tournament (West Branch), TBA. 29—at Ultimate Warrior Tournament, 9 a.m.

February

2—Hollidaysburg. 5—at District 6 Team Duals, TBA. 8—at West Branch. 18/19—at District 6 class AA Tournament (Altoona), TBA. 25/26—at Southwest Regional Tournament (IUP), TBA.

March

10/11/12—at PIAA Tournament (Hershey), TBA.

Matches begin at 7 p.m. unless noted

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